Barb Myers was steeling herself for her annual call to the RCMP officers investigating the murder of her son Tyler Myers, when instead she got the voice mail she had feared might never come.
The RCMP were letting her know that officers had arrested a 20-year-old man and 21-year-old woman and were charging them with first-degree murder.
Tyler was shot dead and his body found on the grounds of Bastion Elementary nearly four years ago, on Nov. 22, 2008.
While Barb was informed of the identities of the accused perpetrators, the pair were 16 and 17 years old at the time of the offence and, as such, their names and any information that could identify them cannot be published under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
“Every year, around the anniversary, I would call and ask if there was anything, if the police were closer to finding out who did this to Tyler. But I was not really that optimistic. I was wondering, is it going to be another year with nothing? Then I got that message,” she says in an interview from her home in Campbell River. “It was a two-edged sword. I was so elated they had cracked the case, but finding out who they arrested, it was such a let-down. I am really shocked and disappointed.”
Police confirm both accused knew Tyler prior to the murders.
“We don’t believe this was a random murder. By virtue of the first-degree murder charge, we believe it was a planned and deliberate murder of Tyler Myers,” said RCMP major crimes Insp. Gary Shinkaruk at a press conference following the arrests.
Investigators would not comment on the relationship between Tyler and the two accused or a possible motive for the killing, saying those details will come out in court.
Tyler’s sister Christina says she still has trouble believing who has been arrested.
“I can’t even begin to explain how angry and hurt I feel knowing what I do now. It’s taking a long time to sink in.”
Christina, who lives in Enderby, describes her relationship with her brother as very close. With a 14-year age difference between them, Christina says his death was “like the loss of a child and a best friend.”
She describes how she would go on long drives with her brother, the music cranked up and enjoying the world passing by.
“We’d go nowhere, but everywhere, and we loved those times together. That was something we used to do with our dad and then we’d still do it. I miss that so much,” she says tearfully. “Now I have to drive on my own.”
Christina says she remains emotionally devastated by the loss of her brother.
“If I’m out and enjoying myself, I suddenly stop and feel bad because he’s not there. It’s like I’m betraying our bond to have fun without him. I miss him every second of every day. I may have a smile on my face, but I’m dying inside.”
Both women are anxious to hear more of the facts surrounding Tyler’s death.
“It’s a relief to get to this point, but now there’s more waiting – waiting to hear what information the police have and how the investigation went. I’m wearing a path in my carpet, walking back and forth wondering,” says Christina.
Christina says she is grateful to police for their work in bringing the case to this point.
“Some people just disappear and families never get answers, never get anything. At least I know now that some of my questions will be answered.”
Barb also feels some closure that arrests have been made, but is hoping to get a clearer picture of what happened to her son from the trial.
“I think that will help me have true closure. I guess what keeps going through my mind is why, why? Why did they have to resort to murder?” she asks. “I don’t like to judge until I have all the facts. It’s in my mind that there’s two other young lives involved and my heart also goes out to the mothers of those children and how this impacts them. It’s just so sad for so many.”
Due to the timing between the arrests and the first court appearance, Barb was unable to travel from Vancouver Island to Salmon Arm to attend the first court appearance, but she intends to follow the judicial proceedings very closely.
“I want to be there for Tyler… I do have many fond memories of Tyler and I’m so glad I’ve got those.”